I was treated to the Citycell-Channel I Music awards function last night.
The legendary songwriter Baul Abdul Karim from Sunamganj received a "Lifetime Award" for having composed over 3000 songs. I discovered his songs through the music of Habib a few years ago. He is old and frail, but came to receive the award. His deceased wife is buried right next to his home, and he lights a candle at her gave every night.
While the awards were advertised as covering all types of Bangla music, the crowd certainly favored band and folk music over Rabindra and Nazrul genres.
The crowd roared when albums of Momtaz, the gutsy folk singer, were nominated. She received best Polli Geeti prize. I didn't know her father was a Baul singer, and so music is in her genes.
In fact, Bangladesh has quite a crop of large women singers who can belt out songs with incredible power - another example is Farida Parvin (why was she not mentioned at this show?) Like the Blues or Opera singers in the West.
A sad moment came when Sudhin Das, a Nazrul teacher, came to accept the award for his student Ferdous Ara. He said it was a sad day for him because Niloy - one of the musicians remembered earlier on in the show as having died in the last year - had been his only son.
The movie star Razzak gave some awards. It's a bummer time has not been kind to him - he looks older and heavier and I would not have recognized him in the streets. In fact, many of the older musicians don't appear to take care of their health. Azam Khan was sprite, though, reminding me of Mick Jagger at 60.
A selection of lip-synced Band songs, representing the evolution of Band Music in Bangladesh, was performed by many legends including Azam Khan (orey Saleka, orey Maleka.) Too bad no one remembered Zinga Goshty.
I still remember when Band music was just starting out in the mid-70s. The guys could barely sing and all the guitar playing was messed up. They can certainly play very well now, and many of the singers sing well too.
A really enjoyable evening - my thanks to the organizers and the musicians.